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For a future research project I need to grasp as all of the information I can and concepts over condensed matter physics (with my current background I am fairly familiar with the mathematics and theoretical tools used in this domain), and I already figured out the elements I'll be learning from: two textbooks covering most of the domain (2 * 700 pages approx. if it's relevant) and a series of lectures (14 * 85min) but I'd enjoy having a methodological advice on the method. Should I start with books and then watch the video lectures? the inverse? or both at the same time?

I kinda feel that there are no general answer to that, but if someone here had to pass through a self-learning experience like that and want to share his experiences and some

ps: I hope achieving this in 2 months, spending 8-9 hours/day on it

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3 Answers 3

Perhaps the question isn't whether or not you should be reading or watching. Try to find out the answer to this question and you have your answer:

Who is the better teacher? Is it the one that wrote the book, or the one that presents the video?

When you're learning something, always try to learn it from the best.

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I guess there will be a huge overlap between the videos and the books.

You can use speed reading methods on the books. Start by skimming the contents, and skipping overlapping pieces of theory all at once. If you allready know it, then you don't need to read it twice.

You can play the videos at a faster playback rate, and slow down when you hear interesting and new theories.

I would start with the one you're least comfortable with. This way, you have the hardest part out of the way first.

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Personally, I prefer reading; I would cut off my right arm before watching 18 hours of technical video. But it depends on your learning style.

However if you are asking how to learn a topic in depth, you can use the PhD methodology of read the book, look up all the refernces and read them, then look up all the references in the first set of references and read them, and so forth until you run out of new references.

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+1 for reading. I learn way more efficiently by reading than watching videos or listening to recordings. –  Franck Dernoncourt Jul 13 '12 at 23:41

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